“God is endless, sovereign Truth,—Wisdom,—Love, not-made; and man’s Soul is a creature in God which hath the same properties made”
God shewed in all the Revelations, oftentimes, that man worketh evermore His will and His worship lastingly without any stinting. And what this work is, was shewed in the First, and that in a marvellous example: for it was shewed in the working of the soul of our blissful Lady, Saint Mary: [that is, the working of] Truth and Wisdom. And how [it is done] I hope by the grace of the Holy Ghost I shall tell, as I saw.
Truth seeth God, and Wisdom beholdeth God, and of these two cometh the third: that is, a holy marvellous delight in God; which is Love. Where Truth and Wisdom are verily, there is Love verily, coming of them both. And all of God’s making: for He is endless sovereign Truth, endless sovereign Wisdom, endless sovereign Love, unmade; and man’s Soul is a creature in God which hath the same properties made, and evermore it doeth that it was made for: it seeth God, it beholdeth God, and it loveth God. Whereof God enjoyeth in the creature; and the creature in God, endlessly marvelling.
In which marvelling he seeth his God, his Lord, his Maker so high, so great, and so good, in comparison with him that is made, that scarcely the creature seemeth ought to the self. But the clarity and the clearness of Truth and Wisdom maketh him to see and to bear witness that he is made for Love: in which God endlessly keepeth him.
“All heavenly things and all earthly things that belong to Heaven are comprehended in these two judgments”
God deemeth us [looking] upon our Nature-Substance, which is ever kept one in Him, whole and safe without end: and this doom is [because] of His rightfulness [in the which it is made and kept]. And man judgeth [looking] upon our changeable Sense-soul, which seemeth now one [thing], now other,—according as it taketh of the [higher or lower] parts,—and [is that which] showeth outward. And this wisdom [of man’s judgment] is mingled [because of the diverse things it beholdeth]. For sometimes it is good and easy, and sometimes it is hard and grievous. And in as much as it is good and easy it belongeth to the rightfulness; and in as much as it is hard and grievous [by reason of the sin beheld, which sheweth in our Sense-soul,] our good Lord Jesus reformeth it by [the working in our Sense-soul of] mercy and grace through the virtue of His blessed Passion, and so bringeth it to the rightfulness.
And though these two [judgments] be thus accorded and oned, yet both shall be known in Heaven without end. The first doom, which is of God’s rightfulness, is [because] of His high endless life [in our Substance]; and this is that fair sweet doom that was shewed in all the fair Revelation, in which I saw Him assign to us no manner of blame. But though this was sweet and delectable, yet in the beholding only of this, I could not be fully eased: and that was because of the doom of Holy Church, which I had afore understood and which was continually in my sight. And therefore by this doom methought I understood that sinners are worthy sometime of blame and wrath; but these two could I not see in God; and therefore my desire was more than I can or may tell. For the higher doom was shewed by God Himself in that same time, and therefore me behoved needs to take it; and the lower doom was learned me afore in Holy Church, and therefore I might in no way leave the lower doom. Then was this my desire: that I might see in God in what manner that which the doom of Holy Church teacheth is true in His sight, and how it belongeth to me verily to know it; whereby the two dooms might both be saved, so as it were worshipful to God and right way to me.
And to all this I had none other answer but a marvellous example of a lord and of a servant, as I shall tell after: and that full mistily shewed. And yet I stand desiring, and will unto my end, that I might by grace know these two dooms as it belongeth to me. For all heavenly, and all earthly things that belong to Heaven, are comprehended in these two dooms. And the more understanding, by the gracious leading of the Holy Ghost, that we have of these two dooms, the more we shall see and know our failings. And ever the more[Pg 96] that we see them, the more, of nature, by grace, we shall long to be fulfilled of endless joy and bliss. For we are made thereto, and our Nature-Substance is now blissful in God, and hath been since it was made, and shall be without end.
“It is needful to see and to know that we are sinners: wherefore we deserve pain and wrath.” “He is God: Good, Life, Truth, Love, Peace: His Clarity and His Unity suffereth Him not to be wroth”
But our passing life that we have here in our sense-soul knoweth not what our Self is. [And when we verily and clearly see and know what our Self is then shall we verily and clearly see and know our Lord God in fulness of joy. And therefore it behoveth needs to be that the nearer we be to our bliss, the more we shall long [after it]: and that both by nature and by grace. We may have knowing of our Self in this life by continuant help and virtue of our high Nature. In which knowing we may exercise and grow, by forwarding and speeding of mercy and grace; but we may never fully know our Self until the last point: in which point this passing life and manner of pain and woe shall have an end. And therefore it belongeth properly to us, both by nature and by grace, to long and desire with all our mights to know our Self in fulness of endless joy.
And yet in all this time, from the beginning to the end, I had two manner of beholdings. The one was endless continuant love, with secureness of keeping, and blissful salvation,—for of this was all the Shewing. The other was of the common teaching of Holy Church, in which I was afore informed and grounded—and with all my will having in use and understanding. And the beholding of this went not from me: for by the Shewing I was not stirred nor led therefrom in no manner of point, but I had therein teaching to love it and find it good: whereby I might, by the help of our Lord and His grace, increase and rise to more heavenly knowing and higher loving.
And thus in all the Beholding methought it was needful to see and to know that we are sinners, and do many evils that we ought to leave, and leave many good deeds undone that we ought to do: wherefore we deserve pain and wrath. And notwithstanding all this, I saw soothfastly that our Lord was never wroth, nor ever shall be. For He is God: Good, Life, Truth, Love, Peace; His Clarity and His Unity suffereth Him not to be wroth. For I saw truly that it is against the property of His Might to be wroth, and against the property of His Wisdom, and against the property of His Goodness. God is the Goodness that may not be wroth, for He is not [other] but Goodness: our soul is oned to Him, unchangeable Goodness, and between God and our soul is neither wrath nor forgiveness in His sight. For our soul is so fully oned to God of His own Goodness that between God and our soul may be right nought.
And to this understanding was the soul led by love and drawn by might in every Shewing: that it is thus our good Lord shewed, and how it is thus in truth of His great Goodness. And He willeth that we desire to learn it—that is to say, as far as it belongeth to His creature to learn it. For all things that the simple soul understood, God willeth that they be shewed and [made] known. For the things that He will have privy, mightily and wisely Himself He hideth them, for love. For I saw in the same Shewing that much privity is hid, which may never be known until the time that God of His goodness hath made us worthy to see it; and therewith I am well-content, abiding our Lord’s will in this high marvel. And now I yield me to my Mother, Holy Church, as a simple child oweth.
“We fail oftentimes of the sight of Him, and anon we fall into our self, and then find we no feeling of right,—nought but contrariness that is in our self”
Two things belong to our soul as duty: the one is that we reverently marvel, the other that we meekly suffer, ever enjoying in God. For He would have us understand that we shall in short time see clearly in Himself all that we desire.
And notwithstanding all this, I beheld and marvelled greatly: What is the mercy and forgiveness of God? For by the teaching that I had afore, I understood that the mercy of God should be the forgiveness of His wrath after the time that we have sinned. For methought that to a soul whose meaning and desire is to love, the wrath of God was harder than any other pain, and therefore I took that the forgiveness of His wrath should be one of the principal points of His mercy. But howsoever I might behold and desire, I could in no wise see this point in all the Shewing.
But how I understood and saw of the work of mercy, I shall tell somewhat, as God will give me grace. I understood this: Man is changeable in this life, and by frailty and overcoming falleth into sin: he is weak and unwise of himself, and also his will is overlaid. And in this time he is in tempest and in sorrow and woe; and the cause is blindness: for he seeth not God. For if he saw God continually, he should have no mischievous feeling, nor any manner of motion or yearning that serveth to sin.
Thus saw I, and felt in the same time; and methought that the sight and the feeling was high and plenteous and gracious in comparison with that which our common feeling is in this life; but yet I thought it was but small and low in comparison with the great desire that the soul hath to see God.
For I felt in me five manner of workings, which be these: Enjoying, mourning, desire, dread, and sure hope. Enjoying: for God gave me understanding and knowing that it was Himself that I saw; mourning: and that was for failing; desire: and that was I might see Him ever more and more, understanding and knowing that we shall never have full rest till we see Him verily and clearly in heaven; dread was: for it seemed to me in all that time that that sight should fail, and I be left to myself; sure hope was in the endless love: that I saw I should be kept by His mercy and brought to His bliss. And the joying in His sight with this sure hope of His merciful keeping made me to have feeling and comfort so that mourning and dread were not greatly painful. And yet in all this I beheld in the Shewing of God that this manner of sight may not be continuant in this life,—and that for His own worship and for increase of our endless joy. And therefore we fail oftentimes of the sight of Him, and anon we fall into our self, and then find we no feeling of right,—naught but contrariness that is in our self; and that of the elder root of our first sin, with all the sins that follow, of our contrivance. And in this we are in travail and tempest with feeling of sins, and of pain in many divers manners, spiritual and bodily, as it is known to us in this life.
“I beheld the property of Mercy, and I beheld the property of Grace: which have two manners of working in one love”
But our good Lord the Holy Ghost, which is endless life dwelling in our soul, full securely keepeth us; and worketh therein a peace and bringeth it to ease by grace, and accordeth it to God and maketh it pliant. And this is the mercy and the way that our Lord continually leadeth us in as long as we be here in this life which is changeable.
For I saw no wrath but on man’s part; and that forgiveth He in us. For wrath is not else but a forwardness and a contrariness to peace and love; and either it cometh of failing of might, or of failing of wisdom, or of failing of goodness: which failing is not in God, but is on our part. For we by sin and wretchedness have in us a wretched and continuant contrariness to peace and to love. And that shewed He full often in His lovely Regard of Ruth and Pity. For the ground of mercy is love, and the working of mercy is our keeping in love. And this was shewed in such manner that I could not have perceived of the part of mercy but as it were alone in love; that is to say, as to my sight.
Mercy is a sweet gracious working in love, mingled with plenteous pity: for mercy worketh in keeping us, and mercy worketh turning to us all things to good. Mercy, by love, suffereth us to fail in measure and in as much as we fail, in so much we fall; and in as much as we fall, in so much we die: for it needs must be that we die in so much as we fail of the sight and feeling of God that is our life. Our failing is dreadful, our falling is shameful, and our dying is sorrowful: but in all this the sweet eye of pity and love is lifted never off us, nor the working of mercy ceaseth.
For I beheld the property of mercy, and I beheld the property of grace: which have two manners of working in one love. Mercy is a pitiful property which belongeth to the Motherhood in tender love; and grace is a worshipful property which belongeth to the royal Lordship in the same love. Mercy worketh: keeping, suffering, quickening, and healing; and all is tenderness of love. And grace worketh: raising, rewarding, endlessly overpassing that which our longing and our travail deserveth, spreading abroad and shewing the high plenteous largess of God’s royal Lordship in His marvellous courtesy; and this is of the abundance of love. For grace worketh our dreadful failing into plenteous, endless solace; and grace worketh our shameful falling into high, worshipful rising; and grace worketh our sorrowful dying into holy, blissful life.
For I saw full surely that ever as our contrariness worketh to us here in earth pain, shame, and sorrow, right so, on the contrary wise, grace worketh to us in heaven solace, worship, and bliss; and overpassing. And so far forth, that when we come up and receive the sweet reward which grace hath wrought for us, then we shall thank and bless our Lord, endlessly rejoicing that ever we suffered woe. And that shall be for a property of blessed love that we shall know in God which we could never have known without woe going before.
And when I saw all this, it behoved me needs to grant that the mercy of God and the forgiveness is to slacken and waste our wrath.
“Where our Lord appeareth, peace is taken, and wrath hath no place.” “Immediately is the soul made at one with God when it is truly set at peace in itself”
For this was an high marvel to the soul which was continually shewed in all the Revelations, and was with great diligence beholden, that our Lord God, anent Himself may not forgive, for He may not be wroth: it were impossible. For this was shewed: that our life is all grounded and rooted in love, and without love we may not live; and therefore to the soul that of His special grace seeth so far into the high, marvellous Goodness of God, and seeth that we are endlessly oned to Him in love, it is the most impossible that may be, that God should be wroth. For wrath and friendship be two contraries. For He that wasteth and destroyeth our wrath and maketh us meek and mild,—it behoveth needs to be that He [Himself] be ever one in love, meek and mild: which is contrary to wrath.
For I saw full surely that where our Lord appeareth, peace is taken and wrath hath no place. For I saw no manner of wrath in God, neither for short time nor for long;—for in sooth, as to my sight, if God might be wroth for an instant, we should never have life nor place nor being. For as verily as we have our being of the endless Might of God and of the endless Wisdom and of the endless Goodness, so verily we have our keeping in the endless Might of God, in the endless[Pg 104] Wisdom, and in the endless Goodness. For though we feel in ourselves, [frail] wretches, debates and strifes, yet are we all-mannerful enclosed in the mildness of God and in His meekness, in His benignity and in His graciousness. For I saw full surely that all our endless friendship, our place, our life and our being, is in God.
For that same endless Goodness that keepeth us when we sin, that we perish not, the same endless Goodness continually treateth in us a peace against our wrath and our contrarious falling, and maketh us to see our need with a true dread, and mightily to seek unto God to have forgiveness, with a gracious desire of our salvation. And though we, by the wrath and the contrariness that is in us, be now in tribulation, distress, and woe, as falleth to our blindness and frailty, yet are we securely safe by the merciful keeping of God, that we perish not. But we are not blissfully safe, in having of our endless joy, till we be all in peace and in love: that is to say, full pleased with God and with all His works, and with all His judgments, and loving and peaceable with our self and with our even-Christians and with all that God loveth, as love beseemeth. And this doeth God’s Goodness in us.
Thus saw I that God is our very Peace, and He is our sure Keeper when we are ourselves in unpeace, and He continually worketh to bring us into endless peace. And thus when we, by the working of mercy and grace, be made meek and mild, we are fully safe; suddenly is the soul oned to God when it is truly peaced in itself: for in Him is found no wrath. And thus I saw when we are all in peace and in love, we find no contrariness, nor no manner of letting through that contrariness which is now in us; [nay], our Lord of His Goodness maketh it to us full profitable. For that contrariness is cause of our tribulations and all our woe, and our Lord Jesus taketh them and sendeth them up to Heaven, and there are they made more sweet and delectable than heart may think or tongue may tell. And when we come thither we shall find them ready, all turned into very fair and endless worships. Thus is God our steadfast Ground: and He shall be our full bliss and make us unchangeable, as He is, when we are there.
“The blame of our sin continually hangeth upon us.” “In the sight of God the soul that shall be saved was never dead, nor ever shall be dead”
And in this life mercy and forgiveness is our way and evermore leadeth us to grace. And by the tempest and the sorrow that we fall into on our part, we be often dead as to man’s doom in earth; but in the sight of God the soul that shall be saved was never dead, nor ever shall be.
But yet here I wondered and marvelled with all the diligence of my soul, saying thus within me: Good Lord, I see Thee that art very Truth; and I know in truth that we sin grievously every day and be much blameworthy; and I may neither leave the knowing of Thy truth, nor do I see Thee shew to us any manner of blame. How may this be?
For I knew by the common teaching of Holy Church and by mine own feeling, that the blame of our sin continually hangeth upon us, from the first man unto the time that we come up unto heaven: then was this my marvel that I saw our Lord God shewing to us no more blame than if we were as clean and as holy as Angels be in heaven. And between these two contraries my reason was greatly travailed through my blindness, and could have no rest for dread that His blessed presence should pass from my sight and I be left in unknowing [of] how He beholdeth us in our sin. For either [it] behoved me to see in God that sin was all done away, or else me behoved to see in God how He seeth it, whereby I might truly know how it belongeth to me to see sin, and the manner of our blame. My longing endured, Him continually beholding;—and yet I could have no patience for great straits and perplexity, thinking: If I take it thus that we be no sinners and not blameworthy, it seemeth as I should err and fail of knowing of this truth; and if it be so that we be sinners and blameworthy,—Good Lord, how may it then be that I cannot see this true thing in Thee, which art my God, my Maker, in whom I desire to see all truths?
For three points make me hardy to ask it. The first is, because it is so low a thing: for if it were an high thing I should be a-dread. The second is, that it is so common: for if it were special and privy, also I should be a-dread. The third is, that it needeth me to know it (as methinketh) if I shall live here for knowing of good and evil, whereby I may, by reason and grace, the more dispart them asunder, and love goodness and hate evil, as Holy Church teacheth. I cried inwardly, with all my might seeking unto God for help, saying thus: Ah! Lord Jesus, King of bliss, how shall I be eased? Who shall teach me and tell me that [thing] me needeth to know, if I may not at this time see it in Thee?
“He is the Head, and we be His members.” “Therefore our Father nor may nor will more blame assign to us than to His own Son, precious and worthy Christ”
And then our Courteous Lord answered in shewing full mistily a wonderful example of a Lord that hath a Servant: and He gave me sight to my understanding of both. Which sight was shewed doubly in the Lord and doubly in the Servant: the one part was shewed spiritually in bodily likeness, and the other part was shewed more spiritually, without bodily likeness.
For the first [sight], thus, I saw two persons in bodily likeness: that is to say, a Lord and a Servant; and therewith God gave me spiritual understanding. The Lord sitteth stately in rest and in peace; the Servant standeth by afore his Lord reverently, ready to do his Lord’s will. The Lord looketh upon his Servant full lovingly and sweetly, and meekly he sendeth him to a certain place to do his will. The Servant not only he goeth, but suddenly he starteth, and runneth in great haste, for love to do his Lord’s will. And anon he falleth into a slade, and taketh full great hurt. And then he groaneth and moaneth and waileth and struggleth, but he neither may rise nor help himself by no manner of way.
And of all this the most mischief that I saw him in, was failing of comfort: for he could not turn his face to look upon his loving Lord, which was to him full near,—in Whom is full comfort;—but as a man that was feeble and unwise for the time, he turned his mind to his feeling and endured in woe.
In which woe he suffered seven great pains. The first was the sore bruising that he took in his falling, which was to him feelable pain; the second was the heaviness of his body; the third was feebleness following from these two; the fourth, that he was blinded in his reason and stunned in his mind, so far forth that almost he had forgotten his own love; the fifth was that he might not rise; the sixth was most marvellous to me, and that was that he lay all alone: I looked all about and beheld, and far nor near, high nor low, I saw to him no help; the seventh was that the place which he lay on was a long, hard, and grievous [place].
I marvelled how this Servant might meekly suffer there all this woe, and I beheld with carefulness to learn if I could perceive in him any fault, or if the Lord should assign to him any blame. And in sooth there was none seen: for only his goodwill and his great desire was cause of his falling; and he was unlothful, and as good inwardly as when he stood afore his Lord, ready to do his will. And right thus continually his loving Lord full tenderly beholdeth him. But now with a double manner of Regard: one outward, full meekly and mildly, with great ruth and pity,—and this was of the first [sight], another inward, more spiritually,—and this was shewed with a leading of mine understanding into the Lord, [in the] which I saw Him highly rejoicing for the worshipful restoring that He will and shall bring His Servant to by His plenteous grace; and this was of that other shewing.
And now [was] my understanding led again into the first [sight]; both keeping in mind. Then saith this courteous Lord in his meaning: Lo, lo, my loved Servant, what harm and distress he hath taken in my service for my love,—yea, and for his goodwill. Is it not fitting that I award him [for] his affright and his dread, his hurt and his maim and all his woe? And not only this, but falleth it not to me to give a gift that [shall] be better to him, and more worshipful, than his own wholeness should have been?—or else methinketh I should do him no grace.
And in this an inward spiritual Shewing of the Lord’s meaning descended into my soul: in which I saw that it behoveth needs to be, by virtue of His great [Goodness] and His own worship, that His dearworthy Servant, which He loved so much, should be verily and blissfully rewarded, above that he should have been if he had not fallen. Yea, and so far forth, that his falling and his woe, that he hath taken thereby, shall be turned into high and overpassing worship and endless bliss.
And at this point the shewing of the example vanished, and our good Lord led forth mine understanding in sight and in shewing of the Revelation to the end. But notwithstanding all this forth-leading, the marvelling over the example went never from me: for methought it was given me for an answer to my desire, and yet could I not take therein full understanding to mine ease at that time. For in the Servant that was shewed for Adam, as I shall tell, I saw many diverse properties that might in no manner of way be assigned to single Adam. And thus in that time I stood for much part in unknowing: for the full understanding of this marvellous example was not given me in that time. In which mighty example three properties of the Revelation be yet greatly hid; and notwithstanding this [further forthleading], I saw and understood that every Shewing is full of secret things [left hid].
And therefore me behoveth now to tell three properties in which I am somewhat eased. The first is the beginning of teaching that I understood therein, in the same time; the second is the inward teaching that I have understood therein afterward; the third, all the whole Revelation from the beginning to the end (that is to say of this Book) which our Lord God of His goodness bringeth oftentimes freely to the sight of mine understanding. And these three are so oned, as to my understanding, that I cannot, nor may, dispart them. And by these three, as one, I have teaching whereby I ought to believe and trust in our Lord God, that of the same goodness of which He shewed it, and for the same end, right so, of the same goodness and for the same end He shall declare it to us when it is His will.
For, twenty years after the time of the Shewing, save three months, I had teaching inwardly, as I shall tell: It belongeth to thee to take heed to all the properties and conditions that were shewed in the example, though thou think that they be misty and indifferent to thy sight. I assented willingly, with great desire, and inwardly [beheld] with heedfulness all the points and properties that were shewed in the same time, as far forth as my wits and understanding would serve: beginning my beholding at the Lord and at the Servant, and the manner of sitting of the Lord, and the place that he sat on, and the colour of his clothing and the manner of shape, and his countenance without, and his nobleness and his goodness within; at the manner of standing of the Servant, and the place where, and how; at his manner of clothing, the colour and the shape; at his outward having and at his inward goodness and his unloathfulness.
The Lord that sat stately in rest and in peace, I understood that He is God. The Servant that stood afore the Lord, I understood that it was shewed for Adam: that is to say, one man was shewed, that time, and his falling, to make it thereby understood how God beholdeth All-Man and his falling. For in the sight of God all man is one man, and one man is all man. This man was hurt in his might and made full feeble; and he was stunned in his understanding so that he [was] turned from the beholding of his Lord. But his will was kept whole in God’s sight;—for his will I saw our Lord commend and approve. But himself was letted and blinded from the knowing of this will; and this is to him great sorrow and grievous distress: for neither doth he see clearly his loving Lord, which is to him full meek and mild, nor doth he see truly what himself is in the sight of his loving Lord. And well I wot when these two are wisely and truly seen, we shall get rest and peace here in part, and the fulness of the bliss of Heaven, by His plenteous grace.
And this was a beginning of teaching which I saw in the same time, whereby I might come to know in what manner He beholdeth us in our sin. And then I saw that only Pain blameth and punisheth, and our courteous Lord comforteth and sorroweth; and ever He is to the soul in glad Cheer, loving, and longing to bring us to His bliss.
The place that the Lord sat on was simple, on the earth, barren and desert, alone in wilderness; his clothing was ample and full seemly, as falleth to a Lord; the colour of his cloth was blue as azure, most sad and fair, his cheer was merciful; the colour of his face was fair-brown,—with full seemly features; his eyes were black, most fair and seemly, shewing [outward] full of lovely pity, and [shewing], within him, an high Regard, long and broad, all full of endless heavens. And the lovely looking wherewith He looked upon His Servant continually,—and especially in his falling,—methought it might melt our hearts for love and burst them in two for joy. The fair looking shewed [itself] of a seemly mingledness which was marvellous to behold: the one [part] was Ruth and Pity, the other was Joy and Bliss. The Joy and Bliss passeth as far Ruth and Pity as Heaven is above earth: the Pity was earthly and the Bliss was heavenly: the Ruth and Pity of the Father was [in regard] of the falling of Adam, which is His most loved creature; the Joy and Bliss was [in regard] of His dearworthy Son, which is even with the Father. The Merciful Beholding of His Countenance of love fulfilled all earth and descended down with Adam into hell, with which continuant pity Adam was kept from endless death. And thus Mercy and Pity dwelleth with mankind unto the time we come up into Heaven.
But man is blinded in this life and therefore we may not see our Father, God, as He is. And what time that He of His goodness willeth to shew Himself to man, He sheweth Himself homely, as man. Notwithstanding, I reason, in verity we ought to know and believe that the Father is not man.
But his sitting on the earth barren and desert, is to signify this:—He made man’s soul to be His own City and His dwelling-place: which is most pleasing to Him of all His works. And what time that man was fallen into sorrow and pain, he was not all seemly to serve in that noble office; and therefore our Lord Father would prepare Himself no other place, but would sit upon the earth abiding mankind, which is mingled with earth, till what time by His grace His dearworthy Son had brought again His City into the noble fairness with His hard travail. The blueness of the clothing betokeneth His steadfastness; the brownness of his fair face, with the seemly blackness of the eyes, was most accordant to shew His holy soberness. The length and breadth of his garments, which were fair, flaming about, betokeneth that He hath, beclosed in Him, all Heavens, and all Joy and Bliss: and this was shewed in a touch [of time], where I have said: Mine understanding was led into the Lord; in which [inward shewing] I saw Him highly rejoice for the worshipful restoring that He will and shall bring His servant to by His plenteous grace.
And yet I marvelled, beholding the Lord and the Servant aforesaid. I saw the Lord sit stately, and the Servant standing reverently afore his Lord. In which Servant there is double understanding, one without, another within. Outwardly:—he was clad simply, as a labourer which were got ready for his toil; and he stood full near the Lord—not evenly in front of him, but in part to one side, on the left. His clothing was a white kirtle, single, old, and all defaced, dyed with sweat of his body, strait-fitting to him, and short—as it were an handful beneath the knee; [thread]bare, seeming as it should soon be worn out, ready to be ragged and rent. And of this I marvelled greatly, thinking: this is now an unseemly clothing for the Servant that is so greatly loved to stand in afore so worshipful a Lord. And inwardly in him was shewed a ground of love: which love that he had to the Lord was even-like to the love that the Lord had to him.
The wisdom of the Servant saw inwardly that there was one thing to do which should be to the worship of the Lord. And the Servant, for love, having no regard to himself nor to nothing that might befall him, hastily he started and ran at the sending of his Lord, to do that thing which was his will and his worship. For it seemed by his outward clothing as he had been a continuant labourer of long time, and by the inward sight that I had both of the Lord and the Servant it seemed that he was a new [one], that is to say, new beginning to travail: which Servant was never sent out afore.
There was a treasure in the earth which the Lord loved. I marvelled and thought what it might be, and I was answered in mine understanding: It is a food which is delectable and pleasant to the Lord. For I saw the Lord sit as a man, and I saw neither meat nor drink wherewith to serve him. This was one marvel. Another marvel was that this majestic Lord had no servant but one, and him he sent out. I beheld, thinking what manner of labour it might be that the Servant should do. And then I understood that he should do the greatest labour and hardest travail: that is, he should be a gardener, delve and dyke, toil and sweat, and turn the earth upside-down, and seek the deepness, and water the plants in time. And in this he should continue his travail and make sweet floods to run, and noble and plenteous fruits to spring, which he should bring afore the Lord to serve him therewith to his desire. And he should never turn again till he had prepared this food all ready as he knew that it pleased the Lord. And then he should take this food, with the drink in the food, and bear it full worshipfully afore the Lord. And all this time the Lord should sit in the same place, abiding his Servant whom he sent out.
And yet I marvelled from whence the Servant came. For I saw in the Lord that HE hath within Himself endless life, and all manner of goodness, save that treasure that was in the earth. And [also] that [treasure] was grounded in the Lord in marvellous deepness of endless love, but it was not all to His worship till the Servant had thus nobly prepared it, and brought it before Him in himself present. And without the Lord was nothing but wilderness. And I understood not all what this example meant, and therefore I marvelled whence the Servant came.
In the Servant is comprehended the Second Person in the Trinity; and in the Servant is comprehended Adam: that is to say, All-Man. And therefore when I say the Son, it meaneth the Godhead which is even with the Father; and when I say the Servant, it meaneth Christ’s Manhood, which is rightful Adam. By the nearness of the Servant is understood the Son, and by the standing on the left side is understood Adam. The Lord is the Father, God; the Servant is the Son, Christ Jesus; the Holy Ghost is Even Love which is in them both.
When Adam fell, God’s Son fell: because of the rightful oneing which had been made in heaven, God’s Son might not [be disparted] from Adam. (For by Adam I understand All-Man.) Adam fell from life to death, into the deep of this wretched world, and after that into hell: God’s Son fell with Adam, into the deep of the Maiden’s womb, who was the fairest daughter of Adam; and for this end: to excuse Adam from blame in heaven and in earth; and mightily He fetched him out of hell.
By the wisdom and goodness that was in the Servant is understood God’s Son; by the poor clothing as a labourer standing near the left side, is understood the Manhood and Adam, with all the scathe and feebleness that followeth. For in all this our good Lord shewed His own Son and Adam but one Man. The virtue and the goodness that we have is of Jesus Christ, the feebleness and the blindness that we have is of Adam: which two were shewed in the Servant.
And thus hath our good Lord Jesus taken upon Him all our blame, and therefore our Father nor may nor will more blame assign to us than to His own Son, dearworthy Christ. Thus was He, the Servant, afore His coming into earth standing ready afore the Father in purpose, till what time He would send Him to do that worshipful deed by which mankind was brought again into heaven;—that is to say, notwithstanding that He is God, even with the Father as anent the Godhead. But in His foreseeing purpose that He would be Man, to save man in fulfilling of His Father’s will, so He stood afore His Father as a Servant, willingly taking upon Him all our charge. And then He started full readily at the Father’s will, and anon He fell full low, into the Maiden’s womb, having no regard to Himself nor to His hard pains.
The white kirtle is the flesh; the singleness is that there was right nought atwix the Godhead and Manhood; the straitness is poverty; the eld is of Adam’s wearing; the defacing, of sweat of Adam’s travail; the shortness sheweth the Servant’s labour.
And thus I saw the Son saying in His meaning: Lo! my dear Father, I stand before Thee in Adam’s kirtle, all ready to start and to run: I would be in the earth to do Thy worship when it is Thy will to send me. How long shall I desire? Full soothfastly wist the Son when it would be the Father’s will and how long He should desire: that is to say, [He wist it] anent the Godhead: for He is the Wisdom of the Father; wherefore this question was shewed with understanding of the Manhood of Christ. For all mankind that shall be saved by the sweet Incarnation and blissful Passion of Christ, all is the Manhood of Christ: for He is the Head and we be His members. To which members the day and the time is unknown when every passing woe and sorrow shall have an end, and the everlasting joy and bliss shall be fulfilled; which day and time for to see, all the Company of Heaven longeth. And all that shall be under heaven that shall come thither, their way is by longing and desire. Which desire and longing was shewed in the Servant’s standing afore the Lord,—or else thus in the Son’s standing afore the Father in Adam’s kirtle. For the longing and desire of all Mankind that shall be saved appeared in Jesus: for Jesus is All that shall be saved, and All that shall be saved is Jesus. And all of the Charity of God; with obedience, meekness, and patience, and virtues that belong to us.
Also in this marvellous example I have teaching with me as it were the beginning of an A.B.C., whereby I have some understanding of our Lord’s meaning. For the secret things of the Revelation be hid therein;—notwithstanding that all the Shewings are full of secret things. The sitting of the Father betokeneth His Godhead: that is to say, by shewing of rest and peace: for in the Godhead may be no travail. And that He shewed Himself as Lord, betokeneth His [governance] to our manhood. The standing of the Servant betokeneth travail; on one side, and on the left, betokeneth that he was not all worthy to stand even-right afore the Lord; his starting was the Godhead, and the running was the Manhood: for the Godhead started from the Father into the Maiden’s womb, falling into the taking of our Kind. And in this falling he took great sore: the sore that He took was our flesh, in which He had also swiftly feeling of deadly pains. That he stood adread before the Lord and not even-right, betokeneth that His clothing was not seemly to stand in even-right afore the Lord, nor thatmight not, nor should not, be His office while He was a labourer; nor also He might not sit in rest and peace with the Lord till He had won His peace rightfully with His hard travail; and that he stood by the left side [betokeneth] that the Father left His own Son, willingly, in the Manhood to suffer all man’s pains, without sparing of Him. By that his kirtle was in point to be ragged and rent, is understood the blows, the scourgings, the thorns and the nails, the drawing and the dragging, His tender flesh rending. (As I saw in some part [before] how the flesh was rent from the skull, falling in pieces until the time when the bleeding ceased, and then it began to dry again, cleaving to the bone.) And by the struggling and writhing, groaning and moaning, is understood that He might never rise almightily from the time that He was fallen into the Maiden’s womb, till his body was slain and dead, He yielding the soul into the Father’s hands with all Mankind for whom He was sent.
And at this point He began first to shew His might: for He went into Hell, and when He was there He raised up the great Root out of the deep deepness which rightfully was knit to Him in high Heaven. The body was in the grave till Easter-morrow, and from that time He lay nevermore. For then was rightfully ended the struggling and the writhing, the groaning and the moaning. And our foul deadly flesh that God’s Son took on Him, which was Adam’s old kirtle, strait, [worn]-bare, and short, was then by our Saviour made fair, new, white and bright and of endless cleanness; loose and long; fairer and richer than was then the clothing which [before] I saw on the Father: for that clothing was blue, but Christ’s clothing is [coloured] now of a fair seemly medlour, which is so marvellous that I can it not describe: for it is all of very worships.
Now sitteth not the Son on earth in wilderness, but He sitteth in His noblest Seat, which He made in Heaven most to His pleasing. Now standeth not the Son afore the Father as a Servant afore the Lord dreadingly, meanly clad, in part naked; but He standeth afore the Father even-right, richly clad in blissful largeness, with a Crown upon His head of precious richness. For it was shewed that we be His Crown: which Crown is the Joy of the Father, the Worship of the Son, the Satisfying of the Holy Ghost, and endless marvellous Bliss to all that be in Heaven. Now standeth not the Son afore the Father on the left side, as a labourer, but He sitteth on His Father’s right hand, in endless rest and peace. (But it is not meant that the Son sitteth on the right hand, side by side, as one man sitteth by another in this life,—for there is no such sitting, as to my sight, in the Trinity,—but He sitteth on His Father’s right hand,—that is to say: in the highest nobleness of the Father’s joys.) Now is the Spouse, God’s Son, in peace with His loved Wife, which is the Fair Maiden of endless Joy. Now sitteth the Son, Very God and Man, in His City in rest and peace: which [City] His Father hath adight to Him of His endless purpose; and the Father in the Son; and the Holy Ghost in the Father and in the Son.
“We have now matter of mourning: for our sin is cause of Christ’s pains; and we have, lastingly, matter of joy: for endless love made Him to suffer”
And thus I saw that God rejoiceth that He is our Father, and God rejoiceth that He is our Mother, and God rejoiceth that He is our Very Spouse and our soul is His loved Wife. And Christ rejoiceth that He is our Brother, and Jesus rejoiceth that He is our Saviour. These are five high joys, as I understand, in which He willeth that we enjoy; Him praising, Him thanking, Him loving, Him endlessly blessing.
All that shall be saved, we have in us, for the time of this life, a marvellous mingling both of weal and woe: we have in us our Lord Jesus uprisen, we have in us the wretchedness and the mischief of Adam’s falling, dying. By Christ we are steadfastly kept, and by His grace touching us we are raised into sure trust of salvation. And by Adam’s falling we are so broken, in our feeling, in diverse manners by sins and by sundry pains, in which we are made dark, that scarsely we can take any comfort. But in our intent we abide in God, and faithfully trust to have mercy and grace; and this is His own working in us. And of His goodness He openeth the eye of our understanding, by which we have sight, sometime more and sometime less, according as God giveth ability to receive. And now we are raised into the one, and now we are suffered to fall into the other.
And thus is this medley so marvellous in us that scarsely we know of our self or of our even-Christian in what way we stand, for the marvellousness of this sundry feeling. But that same Holy Assent, that we assent to God when we feel Him, truly setting our will to be with Him, with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our might. And then we hate and despise our evil stirrings and all that might be occasion of sin, spiritual and bodily. And yet nevertheless when this sweetness is hid, we fall again into blindness, and so into woe and tribulation in diverse manners. But then is this our comfort, that we know in our faith that by virtue of Christ which is our Keeper, we assent never thereto, but we groan there-against, and dure on, in pain and woe, praying, unto that time that He sheweth Him again to us.
And thus we stand in this medley all the days of our life. But He willeth that we trust that He is lastingly with as. And that in three manner.—He is with us in Heaven, very Man, in His own Person, us updrawing; and that was shewed in [the Shewing of] the Spiritual Thirst. And He is with us in earth, us leading; and that was shewed in the Third [Shewing], where I saw God in a Point. And He is with us in our soul, endlessly dwelling, us ruling and keeping; and that was shewed in the Sixteenth [Shewing], as I shall tell.
And thus in the Servant was shewed the scathe and blindness of Adam’s falling; and in the Servant was shewed the wisdom and goodness of God’s Son. And in the Lord was shewed the ruth and pity of Adam’s woe, and in the Lord was shewed the high nobility and the endless worship that Mankind is come to by the virtue of the Passion and death of His dearworthy Son. And therefore mightily He joyeth in his falling for the high raising and fulness of bliss that Mankind is come to, overpassing that we should have had if he had not fallen.—And thus to see this overpassing nobleness was mine understanding led into God in the same time that I saw the Servant fall.
And thus we have, now, matter of mourning: for our sin is cause of Christ’s pains; and we have, lastingly, matter of joy: for endless love made Him to suffer. And therefore the creature that seeth and feeleth the working of love by grace, hateth nought but sin: for of all things, to my sight, love and hate are [the] hardest and most unmeasureable contraries. And notwithstanding all this, I saw and understood in our Lord’s meaning that we may not in this life keep us from sin as wholly in full cleanness as we shall be in Heaven. But we may well by grace keep us from the sins which would lead us to endless pains, as Holy Church teacheth us; and eschew venial [ones] reasonably up to our might. And if we by our blindness and our wretchedness any time fall, we should readily rise, knowing the sweet touching of grace, and with all our will amend us upon the teaching of Holy Church, according as the sin is grievous, and go forthwith to God in love; and neither, on the one side, fall over low, inclining to despair, nor, on the other side, be over-reckless, as if we made no matter of it; but nakedly acknowledge our feebleness, finding that we may not stand a twinkling of an eye but by Keeping of grace, and reverently cleave to God, on Him only trusting.
For after one wise is the Beholding by God, and after another wise is the Beholding by man. For it belongeth to man meekly to accuse himself, and it belongeth to the proper Goodness of our Lord God courteously to excuse man. And these be two parts that were shewed in the double Manner of Regard with which the Lord beheld the falling of His loved Servant. The one was shewed outward, very meekly and mildly, with great ruth and pity; and that of endless Love. And right thus willeth our Lord that we accuse our self, earnestly and truly seeing and knowing our falling and all the harms that come thereof; seeing and learning that we can never restore it; and therewith that we earnestly and truly see and know His everlasting love that He hath to us, and His plenteous mercy. And thus graciously to see and know both together is the meek accusing that our Lord asketh of us, and Himself worketh it where it is. And this is the lower part of man’s life, and it was shewed in the [Lord’s] outward manner of Regard. In which shewing I saw two parts: the one is the rueful falling of man, the other is the worshipful Satisfaction that our Lord hath made for man.
The other manner of Regard was shewed inward: and that was more highly and all [fully] one. For the life and the virtue that we have in the lower part is of the higher, and it cometh down to us [from out] of the Natural love of the [high] Self, by [the working of] grace. Atwix [the life of] the one and [the life of] the other there is right nought: for it is all one love. Which one blessed love hath now, in us, double working: for in the lower part are pains and passions, mercies and forgiveness, and such other that are profitable; but in the higher part are none of these, but all one high love and marvellous joy: in which joy all pains are highly restored. And in this [time] our Lord showed not only our Excusing [from blame, in His beholding of our higher part], but the worshipful nobility that He shall bring us to [by the working of grace in our lower part], turning all our blame [that is therein, from our falling] into endless worship [when we be oned to the high Self above].
“In every soul that shall be saved is a Godly Will that never assented to sin, nor ever shall.” “Ere that He made us He loved us, and when we were made we loved Him”
And I saw that He willeth that we understand He taketh not harder the falling of any creature that shall be saved than He took the falling of Adam, which, we know, was endlessly loved and securely kept in the time of all his need, and now is blissfully restored in high overpassing joy. For our Lord is so good, so gentle, and so courteous, that He may never assign default [in those] in whom He shall ever be blessed and praised.
And in this that I have now told was my desire in part answered, and my great difficulty some deal eased, by the lovely, gracious Shewing of our good Lord. In which Shewing I saw and understood full surely that in every soul that shall be saved is a Godly Will that never assented to sin, nor ever shall: which Will is so good that it may never will evil, but evermore continually it willeth good; and worketh good in the sight of God. Therefore our Lord willeth that we know this in the Faith and the belief; and especially that we have all this blessed Will whole and safe in our Lord Jesus Christ. For that same Kind that Heaven shall be filled with behoveth needs, of God’s rightfulness, so to have been knit and oned to Him, that therein was kept a Substance which might never, nor should, be parted from Him; and that through His own Good Will in His endless foreseeing purpose.
But notwithstanding this rightful knitting and this endless oneing, yet the redemption and the again-buying of mankind is needful and speedful in everything, as it is done for the same intent and to the same end that Holy Church in our Faith us teacheth.
For I saw that God began never to love mankind: for right the same that mankind shall be in endless bliss, fulfilling the joy of God as anent His works, right so the same, mankind hath been in the foresight of God: known and loved from without beginning in his rightful intent. By the endless assent of the full accord of all the Trinity, the Mid-Person willed to be Ground and Head of this fair Kind: out of Whom we be all come, in Whom we be all enclosed, into Whom we shall all wend, in Him finding our full Heaven in everlasting joy, by the foreseeing purpose of all the blessed Trinity from without beginning.
For ere that He made us He loved us, and when we were made we loved Him. And this is a Love that is made, [to our Kindly Substance], [by virtue] of the Kindly Substantial Goodness of the Holy Ghost; Mighty, in Reason, [by virtue] of the Might of the Father; and Wise, in Mind, [by virtue] of the Wisdom of the Son. And thus is Man’s Soul made by God and in the same point knit to God.
And thus I understand that man’s Soul is made of nought: that is to say, it is made, but of nought that is made. And thus:—When God should make man’s body He took the clay of earth, which is a matter mingled and gathered of all bodily things; and thereof He made man’s body. But to the making of man’s Soul He would take right nought, but made it. And thus is the Nature-made rightfully oned to the Maker, which is Substantial Nature not-made: that is, God. And therefore it is that there may nor shall be right nought atwix God and man’s Soul.
And in this endless Love man’s Soul is kept whole, as the matter of the Revelations signifieth and sheweth: in which endless Love we be led and kept of God and never shall be lost. For He willeth we be aware that our Soul is a life, which life of His Goodness and His Grace shall last in Heaven without end, Him loving, Him thanking, Him praising. And right the same that we shall be without end, the same we were treasured in God and hid, known and loved from without beginning.
Wherefore He would have us understand that the noblest thing that ever He made is mankind: and the fullest Substance and the highest Virtue is the blessed Soul of Christ. And furthermore He would have us understand that His dear worthy Soul [of Manhood] was preciously knit to Him in the making [by Him of Manhood’s Substantial Nature] which knot is so subtle and so mighty that (it)—[man’s soul]—is oned into God: in which oneing it is made endlessly holy. Furthermore He would have us know that all the souls that shall be saved in Heaven without end, are knit and oned in this oneing and made holy in this holiness.
“Faith is nought else but a right understanding, with true belief and sure trust, of our Being: that we are in God, and God is in us: Whom we see not”
And because of this great, endless love that God hath to all Mankind, He maketh no disparting in love between the blessed Soul of Christ and the least soul that shall be saved. For it is full easy to believe and to trust that the dwelling of the blessed Soul of Christ is full high in the glorious Godhead, and verily, as I understand in our Lord’s signifying, where the blessed Soul of Christ is, there is the Substance of all the souls that shall be saved by Christ.
Highly ought we to rejoice that God dwelleth in our soul, and much more highly ought we to rejoice that our soul dwelleth in God. Our soul is made to be God’s dwelling-place; and the dwelling-place of the soul is God, Which is unmade. And high understanding it is, inwardly to see and know that God, which is our Maker, dwelleth in our soul; and an higher understanding it is, inwardly to see and to know that our soul, that is made, dwelleth in God’s Substance: of which Substance, God, we are that we are.
And I saw no difference between God and our Substance: but as it were all God; and yet mine understanding took that our Substance is in God: that is to say, that God is God, and our Substance is a creature in God. For the Almighty Truth of the Trinity is our Father: for He made us and keepeth us in Him; and the deep Wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, in Whom we are all enclosed; the high Goodness of the Trinity is our Lord, and in Him we are enclosed, and He in us. We are enclosed in the Father, and we are enclosed in the Son, and we are enclosed in the Holy Ghost. And the Father is enclosed in us, and the Son is enclosed in us, and the Holy Ghost is enclosed in us: Almightiness, All-Wisdom, All-Goodness: one God, one Lord.
And our faith is a Virtue that cometh of our Nature-Substance into our Sense-soul by the Holy Ghost; in which all our virtues come to us: for without that, no man may receive virtue. For it is nought else but a right understanding, with true belief, and sure trust, of our Being: that we are in God, and God in us, Whom we see not. And this virtue, with all other that God hath ordained to us coming therein, worketh in us great things. For Christ’s merciful working is in us, and we graciously accord to Him through the gifts and the virtues of the Holy Ghost. This working maketh that we are Christ’s children, and Christian in living.
“Christ is our Way”—”Mankind shall be restored from double death”
And thus Christ is our Way, us surely leading in His laws, and Christ in His body mightily beareth us up into heaven. For I saw that Christ, us all having in Him that shall be saved by Him, worshipfully presenteth His Father in heaven with us; which present full thankfully His Father receiveth, and courteously giveth it to His Son, Jesus Christ: which gift and working is joy to the Father, and bliss to the Son, and pleasing to the Holy Ghost. And of all things that belong to us [to do], it is most pleasing to our Lord that we enjoy in this joy which is in the blessed Trinity [in virtue] of our salvation. (And this was seen in the Ninth Shewing, where it speaketh more of this matter.) And notwithstanding all our feeling of woe or weal, God willeth that we should understand and hold by faith that we are more verily in heaven than in earth.
Our Faith cometh of the natural Love of our soul, and of the clear light of our Reason, and of the steadfast Mind which we have from God in our first making. And what time that our soul is inspired into our body, in which we are made sensual, so soon mercy and grace begin to work, having of us care and keeping with pity and love: in which working the Holy Ghost formeth, in our Faith, Hope that we shall come again up above to our Substance, into the Virtue of Christ, increased and fulfilled through the Holy Ghost. Thus I understood that the sense-soul is grounded in Nature, in Mercy, and in Grace: which Ground enableth us to receive gifts that lead us to endless life.
For I saw full assuredly that our Substance is in God, and also I saw that in our sense-soul God is: for in the self-[same] point that our Soul is made sensual, in the self-[same] point is the City of God ordained to Him from without beginning; into which seat He cometh, and never shall remove [from] it. For God is never out of the soul: in which He dwelleth blissfully without end. And this was seen in the Sixteenth Shewing where it saith: The place that Jesus taketh in our soul, He shall never remove [from] it. And all the gifts that God may give to creatures, He hath given to His Son Jesus for us: which gifts He, dwelling in us, hath enclosed in Him unto the time that we be waxen and grown,—our soul with our body and our body with our soul, either of them taking help of other,—till we be brought up unto stature, as nature worketh. And then, in the ground of nature, with working of mercy, the Holy Ghost graciously inspireth into us gifts leading to endless life.
And thus was my understanding led of God to see in Him and to understand, to perceive and to know, that our soul is made-trinity, like to the unmade blissful Trinity, known and loved from without beginning, and in the making oned to the Maker, as it is aforesaid. This sight was full sweet and marvellous to behold, peaceable, restful, sure, and delectable.
And because of the worshipful oneing that was thus made by God betwixt the soul and body, it behoveth needs to be that mankind shall be restored from double death: which restoring might never be until the time that the Second Person in the Trinity had taken the lower part of man’s nature; to Whom the highest [part] was oned in the First-making. And these two parts were in Christ, the higher and the lower: which is but one Soul; the higher part was one in peace with God, in full joy and bliss; the lower part, which is sense-nature, suffered for the salvation of mankind.
And these two parts [in Christ] were seen and felt in the Eighth Shewing, in which my body was fulfilled with feeling and mind of Christ’s Passion and His death, and furthermore with this was a subtile feeling and privy inward sight of the High Part which I was shewed in the same time when I could not, [even] for the friendly proffer [made to me], look up into Heaven: and that was because of that mighty beholding [that I had] of the Inward Life. Which Inward Life is that High Substance, that precious Soul, [of Christ], which is endlessly rejoicing in the Godhead.
“God is nearer to us than our own soul”
“We can never come to full knowing of God till we know first clearly our own Soul”
And thus I saw full surely that it is readier to us to come to the knowing of God than to know our own Soul. For our Soul is so deep-grounded in God, and so endlessly treasured, that we may not come to the knowing thereof till we have first knowing of God, which is the Maker, to whom it is oned. But, notwithstanding, I saw that we have, for fulness, to desire wisely and truly to know our own Soul: whereby we are learned to seek it where it is, and that is, in God. And thus by gracious leading of the Holy Ghost, we should know them both in one: whether we be stirred to know God or our Soul, both [these stirrings] are good and true.
God is nearer to us than our own Soul: for He is [the] Ground in whom our Soul standeth, and He is [the] Mean that keepeth the Substance and the Sense-nature together so that they shall never dispart. For our soul sitteth in God in very rest, and our soul standeth in God in very strength, and our Soul is kindly rooted in God in endless love: and therefore if we will have knowledge of our Soul, and communing and dalliance therewith, it behoveth to seek unto our Lord God in whom it is enclosed. (And of this enclosement I saw and understood more in the Sixteenth Shewing, as I shall tell.)
And as anent our Substance and our Sense-part, both together may rightly be called our Soul: and that is because of the oneing that they have in God. The worshipful City that our Lord Jesus sitteth in is our Sense-soul, in which He is enclosed: and our Kindly Substance is enclosed in Jesus with the blessed Soul of Christ sitting in rest in the Godhead.
And I saw full surely that it behoveth needs to be that we should be in longing and in penance unto the time that we be led so deep into God that we verily and truly know our own Soul. And truly I saw that into this high deepness our good Lord Himself leadeth us in the same love that He made us, and in the same love that He bought us by Mercy and Grace through virtue of His blessed Passion. And notwithstanding all this, we may never come to full knowing of God till we know first clearly our own Soul. For until the time that our Soul is in its full powers we cannot be all fully holy: and that is [until the time] that our Sense-soul by the virtue of Christ’s Passion be brought up to the Substance, with all the profits of our tribulation that our Lord shall make us to get by Mercy and Grace.
I had, in part, [experience of the] Touching [of God in the soul], and it is grounded in Nature. That is to say, our Reason is grounded in God, which is Substantial Naturehood. [Out] of this Substantial Naturehood Mercy and Grace springeth and spreadeth into us, working all things in fulfilling of our joy: these are our Ground in which we have our Increase and our Fulfilling.
These be three properties in one Goodness: and where one worketh, all work in the things which be nowbelonging to us. God willeth that we understand [this], desiring with all our heart to have knowing of them more and more unto the time that we be fulfilled: for fully to know them is nought else but endless joy and bliss that we shall have in Heaven, which God willeth should be begun here in knowing of His love.
For only by our Reason we may not profit, but if we have evenly therewith Mind and Love: nor only in our Nature-Ground that we have in God we may not be saved but if we have, coming of the same Ground, Mercy and Grace. For of these three working all together we receive all our Goodness. Of the which the first [gifts] are goods of Nature: for in our First making God gave us as full goods as we might receive in our spirit alone, —and also greater goods; but His foreseeing purpose in His endless wisdom willed that we should be double.
“In Christ our two natures are united”
And anent our Substance He made us noble, and so rich that evermore we work His will and His worship. (Where I say “we,” it meaneth Man that shall be saved.) For soothly I saw that we are that which He loveth, and do that which Him pleaseth, lastingly without any stinting: and [that by virtue] of the great riches and of the high noble virtues by measure come to our soul what time it is knit to our body: in which knitting we are made Sensual.
And thus in our Substance we are full, and in our Sense-soul we fail: which failing God will restore and fulfil by working of Mercy and Grace plenteously flowing into us out of His own Nature-Goodness. And thus His Nature-Goodness maketh that Mercy and Grace work in us, and the Nature-goodness that we have of Him enableth us to receive the working of Mercy and Grace.
I saw that our nature is in God whole: in which [whole nature of Manhood] He maketh diversities flowing out of Him to work His will: whom Nature keepeth, and Mercy and Grace restoreth and fulfilleth. And of these none shall perish: for our nature that is the higher part is knit to God, in the making; and God is knit to our nature that is the lower part, in our flesh-taking: and thus in Christ our two natures are oned. For the Trinity is comprehended in Christ, in whom our higher part is grounded and rooted; and our lower part the Second Person hath taken: which nature first to Him was made-ready. For I saw full surely that all the works that God hath done, or ever shall, were fully known to Him and aforeseen from without beginning. And for Love He made Mankind, and for the same Love would be Man.
The next Good that we receive is our Faith, in which our profiting beginneth. And it cometh [out] of the high riches of our nature-Substance into our Sensual soul, and it is grounded in us through the Nature-Goodness of God, by the working of Mercy and Grace. And thereof come all other goods by which we are led and saved. For the Commandments of God come therein: in which we ought to have two manners of understanding: [the one is that we ought to understand and know] which are His biddings, to love and to keep them; the other is that we ought to know His forbiddings, to hate and to refuse them. For in these two is all our working comprehended. Also in our faith come the Seven Sacraments, each following other in order as God hath ordained them to us: and all manner of virtues.
For the same virtues that we have received of our Substance, given to us in Nature by the Goodness of God,—the same virtues by the working of Mercy are given to us in Grace through the Holy Ghost, renewed: which virtues and gifts are treasured to us in Jesus Christ. For in that same time that God knitted Himself to our body in the Virgin’s womb, He took our Sensual soul: in which taking He, us all having enclosed in Him, oned it to our Substance: in which oneing He was perfect Man. For Christ having knit in Him each man that shall be saved, is perfect Man. Thus our Lady is our Mother in whom we are all enclosed and of her born, in Christ: (for she that is Mother of our Saviour is Mother of all that shall be saved in our Saviour;) and our Saviour is our Very Mother in whom we be endlessly borne, and never shall come out of Him.
Plenteously and fully and sweetly was this shewed, and it is spoken of in the First, where it saith: We are all in Him enclosed and He is enclosed in us. And that [enclosing of Him in us] is spoken of in the Sixteenth Shewing, where it saith: He sitteth in our soul.
For it is His good-pleasure to reign in our Understanding blissfully, and sit in our Soul restfully, and to dwell in our Soul endlessly, us all working into Him: in which working He willeth that we be His helpers, giving to Him all our attending, learning His lores, keeping His laws, desiring that all be done that He doeth; truly trusting in Him.
For soothly I saw that our Substance is in God.
“All our life is in three: ‘Nature, Mercy, Grace.’ The high Might of the Trinity is our Father, and the deep Wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, and the great Love of the Trinity is our Lord”
God, the blessed Trinity, which is everlasting Being, right as He is endless from without beginning, right so it was in His purpose endless, to make Mankind. Which fair Kind first was prepared to His own Son, the Second Person. And when He would, by full accord of all the Trinity, He made us all at once; and in our making He knit us and oned us to Himself: by which oneing we are kept as clear and as noble as we were made. By the virtue of the same precious oneing, we love our Maker and seek Him, praise Him and thank Him, and endlessly enjoy Him. And this is the work which is wrought continually in every soul that shall be saved: which is the Godly Will aforesaid. And thus in our making, God, Almighty, is our Nature’s Father; and God, All-Wisdom, is our Nature’s Mother; with the Love and the Goodness of the Holy Ghost: which is all one God, one Lord. And in the knitting and the oneing He is our Very, True Spouse, and we His loved Wife, His Fair Maiden: with which Wife He is never displeased. For He saith: I love thee and thou lovest me, and our love shall never be disparted in two.
I beheld the working of all the blessed Trinity: in which beholding I saw and understood these three properties: the property of the Fatherhood, the property of the Motherhood, and the property of the Lordhood, in one God. In our Father Almighty we have our keeping and our bliss as anent our natural Substance, which is to us by our making, without beginning. And in the Second Person in skill and wisdom we have our keeping as anent our Sense-soul: our restoring and our saving; for He is our Mother, Brother, and Saviour. And in our good Lord, the Holy Ghost, we have our rewarding and our meed-giving for our living and our travail, and endless overpassing of all that we desire, in His marvellous courtesy, of His high plenteous grace.
For all our life is in three: in the first we have our Being, in the second we have our Increasing, and in the third we have our Fulfilling: the first is Nature, the second is Mercy, and the third is Grace.
For the first, I understood that the high Might of the Trinity is our Father, and the deep Wisdom of the Trinity is our Mother, and the great Love of the Trinity is our Lord: and all this have we in Nature and in the making of our Substance.
And furthermore I saw that the Second Person, which is our Mother as anent the Substance, that same dearworthy Person is become our Mother as anent the Sense-soul. For we are double by God’s making: that is to say, Substantial and Sensual. Our Substance is the higher part, which we have in our Father, God Almighty; and the Second Person of the Trinity is our Mother in Nature, in making of our Substance: in whom we are grounded and rooted. And He is our Mother in Mercy, in taking of our Sense-part. And thus our Mother is to us in diverse manners working: in whom our parts are kept undisparted. For in our Mother Christ we profit and increase, and in Mercy He reformeth us and restoreth, and, by the virtue of His Passion and His Death and Uprising, oneth us to our Substance. Thus worketh our Mother in Mercy to all His children which are to Him yielding and obedient.
And Grace worketh with Mercy, and specially in two properties, as it was shewed: which working belongeth to the Third Person, the Holy Ghost. He worketh rewarding and giving. Rewarding is a large giving-of-truth that the Lord doeth to him that hath travailed; and giving is a courteous working which He doeth freely of Grace, fulfilling and overpassing all that is deserved of creatures.
Thus in our Father, God Almighty, we have our being; and in our Mother of Mercy we have our reforming and restoring: in whom our Parts are oned and all made perfect Man; and by [reward]-yielding and giving in Grace of the Holy Ghost, we are fulfilled.
And our Substance is [in] our Father, God Almighty, and our Substance is [in] our Mother, God, All-wisdom; and our Substance is in our Lord the Holy Ghost, God All-goodness. For our Substance is whole in each Person of the Trinity, which is one God. And our Sense-soul is only in the Second Person Christ Jesus; in whom is the Father and the Holy Ghost: and in Him and by Him we are mightily taken out of Hell, and out of the wretchedness in Earth worshipfully brought up into Heaven and blissfully oned to our Substance: increased in riches and in nobleness by all the virtues of Christ, and by the grace and working of the Holy Ghost.
“Jesus Christ that doeth Good against evil is our Very Mother: we have our Being of Him where the Ground of Motherhood beginneth,—with all the sweet Keeping by Love, that endlessly followeth.”
And all this bliss we have by Mercy and Grace: which manner of bliss we might never have had nor known but if that property of Goodness which is God had been contraried: whereby we have this bliss. For wickedness hath been suffered to rise contrary to the Goodness, and the Goodness of Mercy and Grace contraried against the wickedness and turned all to goodness and to worship, to all these that shall be saved. For it is the property in God which doeth good against evil. Thus Jesus Christ that doeth good against evil is our Very Mother: we have our Being of Him,—where the Ground of Motherhood beginneth,—with all the sweet Keeping of Love that endlessly followeth. As verily as God is our Father, so verily God is our Mother; and that shewed He in all, and especially in these sweet words where He saith: I it am. That is to say, I it am, the Might and the Goodness of the Fatherhood; I it am, the Wisdom of the Motherhood; I it am, the Light and the Grace that is all blessed Love: I it am, the Trinity, I it am, the Unity: I am the sovereign Goodness of all manner of things. I am that maketh thee to love: I am that maketh thee to long: I it am, the endless fulfilling of all true desires.
For there the soul is highest, noblest, and worthiest, where it is lowest, meekest, and mildest: and [out] of this Substantial Ground we have all our virtues in our Sense-part by gift of Nature, by helping and speeding of Mercy and Grace: without the which we may not profit.
Our high Father, God Almighty, which is Being, He knew and loved us from afore any time: of which knowing, in His marvellous deep charity and the foreseeing counsel of all the blessed Trinity, He willed that the Second Person should become our Mother. Our Father [willeth], our Mother worketh, our good Lord the Holy Ghost confirmeth: and therefore it belongeth to us to love our God in whom we have our being: Him reverently thanking and praising for our making, mightily praying to our Mother for mercy and pity, and to our Lord the Holy Ghost for help and grace.
For in these three is all our life: Nature, Mercy, Grace: whereof we have meekness and mildness; patience and pity; and hating of sin and of wickedness,—for it belongeth properly to virtue to hate sin and wickedness. And thus is Jesus our Very Mother in Nature [by virtue] of our first making; and He is our Very Mother in Grace, by taking our nature made. All the fair working, and all the sweet natural office of dearworthy Motherhood is impropriated to the Second Person: for in Him we have this Godly Will whole and safe without end, both in Nature and in Grace, of His own proper Goodness. I understood three manners of beholding of Motherhood in God: the first is grounded in our Nature’s making; the second is taking of our nature,—and there beginneth the Motherhood of Grace; the third is Motherhood of working,—and therein is a forthspreading by the same Grace, of length and breadth and height and of deepness without end. And all is one Love.
“The Kind, loving, Mother”
But now behoveth to say a little more of this forthspreading, as I understand in the meaning of our Lord: how that we be brought again by the Motherhood of Mercy and Grace into our Nature’s place, where that we were made by the Motherhood of Nature-Love: which kindly-love, it never leaveth us.
Our Kind Mother, our Gracious Mother, for that He would all wholly become our Mother in all things, He took the Ground of His Works full low and full mildly in the Maiden’s womb. (And that He shewed in the First [Shewing] where He brought that meek Maid afore the eye of mine understanding in the simple stature as she was when she conceived.) That is to say: our high God is sovereign Wisdom of all: in this low place He arrayed and dight Him full ready in our poor flesh, Himself to do the service and the office of Motherhood in all things.
The Mother’s service is nearest, readiest, and surest: [nearest, for it is most of nature; readiest, for it is most of love; and surest] for it is most of truth. This office none might, nor could, nor ever should do to the full, but He alone. We know that all our mothers’ bearing is [bearing of] us to pain and to dying: and what is this but that our Very Mother, Jesus, He—All-Love—beareth us to joy and to endless living?—blessed may He be! Thus He sustaineth us within Himself in love; and travailed, unto the full time that He would suffer the sharpest throes and the most grievous pains that ever were or ever shall be; and died at the last. And when He had finished, and so borne us to bliss, yet might not all this make full content to His marvellous love; and that sheweth He in these high overpassing words of love: If I might suffer more, I would suffer more.
He might no more die, but He would not stint of working: wherefore then it behoveth Him to feed us; for the dearworthy love of Motherhood hath made Him debtor to us. The mother may give her child suck of her milk, but our precious Mother, Jesus, He may feed us with Himself, and doeth it, full courteously and full tenderly, with the Blessed Sacrament that is precious food of my life; and with all the sweet Sacraments He sustaineth us full mercifully and graciously. And so meant He in this blessed word where that He said: It is I that Holy Church preacheth thee and teacheth thee. That is to say: All the health and life of Sacraments, all the virtue and grace of my Word, all the Goodness that is ordained in Holy Church for thee, it is I. The Mother may lay the child tenderly to her breast, but our tender Mother, Jesus, He may homely lead us into His blessed breast, by His sweet open side, and shew therein part of the Godhead and the joys of Heaven, with spiritual sureness of endless bliss. And that shewed He in the Tenth [Shewing], giving the same understanding in this sweet word where He saith: Lo! how I loved thee; looking unto [the Wound in] His side, rejoicing.
This fair lovely word Mother, it is so sweet and so close in Nature of itself that it may not verily be said of none but of Him; and to her that is very Mother of Him and of all. To the property of Motherhood belongeth natural love, wisdom, and knowing; and it is good: for though it be so that our bodily forthbringing be but little, low, and simple in regard of our spiritual forthbringing, yet it is He that doeth it in the creatures by whom that it is done. The Kindly, loving Mother that witteth and knoweth the need of her child, she keepeth it full tenderly, as the nature and condition of Motherhood will. And as it waxeth in age, she changeth her working, but not her love. And when it is waxen of more age, she suffereth that it be beaten in breaking down of vices, to make the child receive virtues and graces. This working, with all that be fair and good, our Lord doeth it in them by whom it is done: thus He is our Mother in Nature by the working of Grace in the lower part for love of the higher part. And He willeth that we know this: for He will have all our love fastened to Him. And in this I saw that all our duty that we owe, by God’s bidding, to Fatherhood and Motherhood, for [reason of] God’s Fatherhood and Motherhood is fulfilled in true loving of God; which blessed love Christ worketh in us. And this was shewed in all [the Revelations] and especially in the high plenteous words where He saith: It is I that thou lovest.
“By the assay of this falling we shall have an high marvellous knowing of Love in God, without end. For strong and marvellous is that love which may not, nor will not, be broken for trespass”
And in our spiritual forthbringing He useth more tenderness of keeping, without any likeness: by as much as our soul is of more price in His sight. He kindleth our understanding, He directeth our ways, He easeth our conscience, He comforteth our soul, He lighteneth our heart, and giveth us, in part, knowing and believing in His blissful Godhead, with gracious mind in His sweet Manhood and His blessed Passion, with reverent marvelling in His high, overpassing Goodness; and maketh us to love all that He loveth, for His love, and to be well-pleased with Him and all His works. And when we fall, hastily He raiseth us by His lovely callingand gracious touching. And when we be thus strengthened by His sweet working, then we with all our will choose Him, by His sweet grace, to be His servants and His lovers lastingly without end.
And after this He suffereth some of us to fall more hard and more grievously than ever we did afore, as us thinketh. And then ween we (who be not all wise) that all were nought that we have begun. But this is not so. For it needeth us to fall, and it needeth us to see it. For if we never fell, we should not know how feeble and how wretched we are of our self, and also we should not fully know that marvellous love of our Maker. For we shall see verily in heaven, without end, that we have grievously sinned in this life, and notwithstanding this, we shall see that we were never hurt in His love, we were never the less of price in His sight. And by the assay of this falling we shall have an high, marvellous knowing of love in God, without end. For strong and marvellous is that love which may not, nor will not, be broken for trespass. And this is one understanding of [our] profit. Another is the lowness and meekness that we shall get by the sight of our falling: for thereby we shall highly be raised in heaven; to which raising we might never have come without that meekness. And therefore it needeth us to see it; and if we see it not, though we fell it should not profit us. And commonly, first we fall and later we see it: and both of the Mercy of God.
The mother may suffer the child to fall sometimes, and to be hurt in diverse manners for its own profit, but she may never suffer that any manner of peril come to the child, for love. And though our earthly mother may suffer her child to perish, our heavenly Mother, Jesus, may not suffer us that are His children to perish: for He is All-mighty, All-wisdom, and All-love; and so is none but He,—blessed may He be!
But oftentimes when our falling and our wretchedness is shewed us, we are so sore adread, and so greatly ashamed of our self, that scarcely we find where we may hold us. But then willeth not our courteous Mother that we flee away, for Him were nothing lother. But He willeth then that we use the condition of a child: for when it is hurt, or adread, it runneth hastily to the mother for help, with all its might. So willeth He that we do, as a meek child saying thus: My kind Mother, my Gracious Mother, my dearworthy Mother, have mercy on me: I have made myself foul and unlike to Thee, and I nor may nor can amend it but with thine help and grace. And if we feel us not then eased forthwith, be we sure that He useth the condition of a wise mother. For if He see that it be more profit to us to mourn and to weep, He suffereth it, with ruth and pity, unto the best time, for love. And He willeth then that we use the property of a child, that evermore of nature trusteth to the love of the mother in weal and in woe.
And He willeth that we take us mightily to the Faith of Holy Church and find there our dearworthy Mother, in solace of true Understanding, with all the blessed Common. For one single person may oftentimes be broken, as it seemeth to himself, but the whole Body of Holy Church was never broken, nor never shall be, without end. And therefore a sure thing it is, a good and a gracious, to will meekly and mightily to be fastened and oned to our Mother, Holy Church, that is, Christ Jesus. For the food of mercy that is His dearworthy blood and precious water is plenteous to make us fair and clean; the blessed wounds of our Saviour be open and enjoy to heal us; the sweet, gracious hands of our Mother be ready and diligently about us. For He in all this working useth the office of a kind nurse that hath nought else to do but to give heed about the salvation of her child.
It is His office to save us: it is His worship to do [for] us, and it is His will [that] we know it: for He willeth that we love Him sweetly and trust in Him meekly and mightily. And this shewed He in these gracious words: I keep thee full surely.
“God is Very Father and Very Mother of Nature: and all natures that He hath made to flow out of Him to work His will shall be restored and brought again into Him by the salvation of Mankind through the working of Grace”
For in that time He shewed our frailty and our fallings, our afflictings and our settings at nought, our despites and our outcastings, and all our woe so far forth as methought it might befall in this life. And therewith He shewed His blessed Might, His blessed Wisdom, His blessed Love: that He keepeth us in this time as tenderly and as sweetly to His worship, and as surely to our salvation, as He doeth when we are in most solace and comfort. And thereto He raiseth us spiritually and highly in heaven, and turneth it all to His worship and to our joy, without end. For His love suffereth us never to lose time.
And all this is of the Nature-Goodness of God, by the working of Grace. God is Nature in His being: that is to say, that Goodness that is Nature, it is God. He is the ground, He is the substance, He is the same thing that is Nature-hood. And He is very Father and very Mother of Nature: and all natures that He hath made to flow out of Him to work His will shall be restored and brought again into Him by the salvation of man through the working of Grace.
For of all natures that He hath set in diverse creatures by part, in man is all the whole; in fulness and in virtue, in fairness and in goodness, in royalty and nobleness, in all manner of majesty, of preciousness and worship. Here may we see that we are all beholden to God for nature, and we are all beholden to God for grace. Here may we see us needeth not greatly to seek far out to know sundry natures, but to Holy Church, unto our Mother’s breast: that is to say, unto our own soul where our Lord dwelleth; and there shall we find all now in faith and in understanding. And afterward verily in Himself clearly, in bliss.
But let no man nor woman take this singularly to himself: for it is not so, it is general: for it is [of] our precious Christ, and to Him was this fair nature adight for the worship and nobility of man’s making, and for the joy and the bliss of man’s salvation; even as He saw, wist, and knew from without beginning.
“As verily as sin is unclean, so verily is it unkind”—a disease or monstrous thing against nature. “He shall heal us full fair.”
Here may we see that we have verily of Nature to hate sin, and we have verily of Grace to hate sin. For Nature is all good and fair in itself, and Grace was sent out to save Nature and destroy sin, and bring again fair nature to the blessed point from whence it came: that is God; with more nobleness and worship by the virtuous working of Grace. For it shall be seen afore God by all His Holy in joy without end that Nature hath been assayed in the fire of tribulation and therein hath been found no flaw, no fault. Thus are Nature and Grace of one accord: for Grace is God, as Nature is God: He is two in manner of working and one in love; and neither of these worketh without other: they be not disparted.
And when we by Mercy of God and with His help accord us to Nature and Grace, we shall see verily that sin is in sooth viler and more painful than hell, without likeness: for it is contrary to our fair nature. For as verily as sin is unclean, so verily is it unnatural, and thus an horrible thing to see for the loved soul that would be all fair and shining in the sight of God, as Nature and Grace teacheth.
Yet be we not adread of this, save inasmuch as dread may speed us: but meekly make we our moan to our dearworthy Mother, and He shall besprinkle us in His precious blood and make our soul full soft and full mild, and heal us full fair by process of time, right as it is most worship to Him and joy to us without end. And of this sweet fair working He shall never cease nor stint till all His dearworthy children be born and forthbrought. (And that shewed He where He shewed [me] understanding of the ghostly Thirst, that is the love-longing that shall last till Doomsday.)
Thus in [our] Very Mother, Jesus, our life is grounded, in the foreseeing Wisdom of Himself from without beginning, with the high Might of the Father, the high sovereign Goodness of the Holy Ghost. And in the taking of our nature He quickened us; in His blessed dying upon the Cross He bare us to endless life; and from that time, and now, and evermore unto Doomsday, He feedeth us and furthereth us: even as that high sovereign Kindness of Motherhood, and as Kindly need of Childhood asketh.
Fair and sweet is our Heavenly Mother in the sight of our souls; precious and lovely are the Gracious Children in the sight of our Heavenly Mother, with mildness and meekness, and all the fair virtues that belong to children in Nature. For of nature the Child despaireth not of the Mother’s love, of nature the Child presumeth not of itself, of nature the Child loveth the Mother and each one of the other [children]. These are the fair virtues, with all other that be like, wherewith our Heavenly Mother is served and pleased.
And I understood none higher stature in this life than Childhood, in feebleness and failing of might and of wit, unto the time that our Gracious Mother hath brought us up to our Father’s Bliss. And then shall it verily be known to us His meaning in those sweet words where He saith: All shall be well: and thou shalt see, thyself, that all manner of things shall be well. And then shall the Bliss of our Mother, in Christ, be new to begin in the Joys of our God: which new beginning shall last without end, new beginning.
Thus I understood that all His blessed children which be come out of Him by Nature shall be brought again into Him by Grace.
- See chap. iv. ↵
- i.e. marvelling. ↵
- chaps. liv., lv. ↵
- “beknowen.” ↵
- Chap. li. ↵
- So S. de Cressy has it. There is evidently an omission in the MS. of part of this sentence. See lvi., lxxii. The dim sight of God comes before the dim sight of the Self, but the clear sight of God comes after the clear sight of the Self. ↵
- “like it.” ↵
- Cressy has: “He is Peace; and His Might, His Wisdom, His Charity, and His Unity,” etc. ↵
- Chap. ii. “a simple creature”; “the soul,” xxiv., xiii., etc., and xxxii. p. 64. ↵
- understood—took it. ↵
- “But for nowte that I myte beholden and desyrin I could not se.” ↵
- “ne no manner steryng ne [or ye = the] yernyng.” ↵
- i.e. contrariness, springing from the beginning of sin in the first fall of man. ↵
- “traveylid and tempested.” ↵
- “buxum” = ready to bend or obey. ↵
- “lovely chere,” loving Look. See li., lxxi., etc. ↵
- “I cowth not a perceyven of.” ↵
- “But in all this the swete eye of pite and love cumith never of us, ne the werkyng of mercy cesyth not.” ↵
- or largeness. ↵
- “a touch.” ↵
- “buxumhede.” ↵
- “liketh.” ↵
- “sothly.” ↵
- “sothe.” ↵
- “awer,” liii. note 1. ↵
- “soth.” ↵
- “sothnes.” ↵
- “trueths.” ↵
- i.e. a steep hollow place; a ravine. ↵
- i.e. injury, harm. ↵
- “entended.” ↵
- “aret” = reckoned. ↵
- i.e. not of definite purport, indistinct. ↵
- “avisement.” ↵
- MS. “within him an heyward long and brode, all full of endless hevyns.” Cressy and Collins transcribe this word without explanation, but give “heavenliness” for “heavens.” It seems most likely that “hey” has been written as if affixed to “ward” (i.e. “regard,” “deeming,” or “reward”), or else to “reward,” meaning, as usual, regard (“Beholding”). See pp. 108 and 113. If “an heyward“—”long and brode all full of endless hevyns,”—were to be rendered as “an high reward,” revealed for the future along with, though less clearly than, the divine pity for the pains of the present, reference might be made to Revelation ix. pp. 47, 50: “It is a joy, a bliss, an endless satisfying to me that ever suffered Passion for thee.” … “In this feeling mine understanding was lifted up into Heaven: and there I saw three heavens”; and to Rev. x. p. 51: “then with a glad Cheer our Lord looked into His Side and beheld, rejoicing. With His sweet looking He led forth the understanding of His creature by the same wound into His Side within. And then He shewed a fair delectable place, and large enough for all mankind that shall be saved to rest in peace and in love.” But “Regard” (scope of true, continuing, divine Sight, Insight, All-comprehending sight) seems more likely to be the true rendering. “Long and broad” go strangely with the word, but on p. 113the length and breadth of the garments is interpreted immediately after the colour of the eyes, and is said to betoken that “He hath in Him, all Heavens, and all Joy and Bliss,” and indeed these words but fill out the idea of the more frequently used “high” to signify the “enclosing” of “endless heavens:” that Sphere of “fulness” which is infinite. With this passage may be compared one below, on p. 113: “The Merciful Beholding of His loving Cheer fulfilled all earth and descended down with Adam into hell, … and thus Mercy and Pity dwelleth with mankind unto the time we come up into Heaven.” The other, the Inward, the high Beholding or Regard it not said to “fill” Heaven, but to be “full of” endless Heavens. So elsewhere it is said that in our Sense-soul, the lower part of human nature, God dwells, but that our Substance, the higher part, dwells in God. (The regard of Mercy and Pity is with the Sense-soul; the high Regard of Joy and Bliss is with the Substance.) P. 132, chap. lv.: “I saw that our Substance is in God, and also I saw that in our Sense-soul God is.” lvi. p. 135:” The worshipful City that our Lord Jesus sitteth in, it is our Sense-part, in which He is enclosed; and our Nature-Substance is beclosed in Jesus, with the blessed Soul of Christ sitting in rest in the Godhead.” ↵
- “lofly cher.” ↵
- “I reson sothly we owen.” ↵
- See p. 112, the “high reward.” ↵
- “which wer disposed to travel.” ↵
- “even fornempts” = strait opposite. ↵
- i.e. equal (MS. “even like”). ↵
- S. de Cressy: “anaved”; MS. “anew.” ↵
- i.e. equal—see p. 114. “All of the Charity of God,” the mutual love that also embraces created souls, p. 118. ↵
- “the slade.” ↵
- “the slade.” ↵
- “mischief.” ↵
- “wilfully” = voluntarily, of His own Will as God. ↵
- purpose, intent, thought or speech. ↵
- “langor.” ↵
- i.e. painful toil. “He sitteth … in peace and rest. And the Godhead ruleth and careth for heaven and earth and all that is” (lxvii.). ↵
- “honest.” ↵
- “wilfully.” ↵
- “wyde and syde” = wide and long. ↵
- But see also xxxix. p. 81, lxxx. p. 194. ↵
- “medlour,” “medle.” ↵
- “menyng.” ↵
- “And thus is this medle so mervelous in us that onethys we knowen of our selfe or of our evyn Cristen in what way we stonden for the marveloushede of this sundry felyng. But that ilke holy assent that we assenten to God when we feel hym truly willand to be with him with al our herte, with al our soule and with al our myte, and than we haten and dispisen our evil sterings and al that myte be occasion of synne gostly and bodily.” ↵
- “gove no fors” = gave it no force. ↵
- “of.” ↵
- “of.” ↵
- “witand” = witting. ↵
- “Asseth.” ↵
- “and al on”—perhaps for all is one. ↵
- “in” = in, into, or unto. ↵
- i.e. Exculpating—as in Romans ii. 15. ↵
- “Man,—seeing he is not a simple nature—in one aspect of his being, which is the better, and that I may speak more openly what I ought to speak, his very self, is immortal; but on the other side, which is weak and fallen, and which alone is known to those who have no faith except in sensible things, he is obnoxious to mortality and mutability.”—From the Didascolon of Hugo of St Victor, as quoted in F. D. Maurice’s Mediæval Philosophy, p. 147. ↵
- “awer” = awe, travail of perplexity, dilemma—see l. note 3. ↵
- Man’s nature. ↵
- Or (it may be): “In His Rightful Intent … the Mid-Person willed….” ↵
- “wynden.” ↵
- “wetyn” = wit. ↵
- S. de Cressy has “this “; the word in the MS. is more like “his.” ↵
- The pronoun “it” given by S. de Cressy is omitted in the MS. The meaning is, perhaps, that the Manhood-Substance, or Soul of Christ, was in its making, by the Second Person in the Trinity, so united to Himself that Man’s Substance and each man’s soul (in salvation), being one with it, are one with God the Son. See li. p. 117. ↵
- “feythyn.” ↵
- “of.” ↵
- “sensualite.” ↵
- Wisdom, Truth, Love or Goodness, p. 93. ↵
- the Sense-soul. ↵
- the Substance. ↵
- “sensualite.” ↵
- “wher I myte not for the mene profir lokyn up on to hevyn.” “mene” = medium, is perhaps a sub. in the gen. = intervenor’s, intermediary’s. See xix. p. 42 and xxxv. p. 70, S. de Cressy has: “Where I might not for the mean profer look up”; Collins: “for the meanwhile.” ↵
- “& anempts our substance and sensualite it may rytely be clepid our soule.” ↵
- “the full myts.” ↵
- “I had in partie touching and it is grounded in kynd: that is to sey, our reson is groundid in God, which is substantial kyndhede.” ↵
- “ffor in our first makyng God gaf us as ful goods and also greter godes as we myte receivin only in our spirite.” In the MS. the word “spirit” is used only here, where it means “the Substance.” ↵
- “kynde godhede.” ↵
- “adyte.” ↵
- or the first. ↵
- “ilk” = “same.” ↵
- Here, as above, the MS. term for the “Sensual soul” is the “Sensualite.” ↵
- “ilk” = “each.” ↵
- The MS. word is in both cases “borne,” which may mean either born or borne. S. de Cressy gives “born” both for the first word and the second. See lx. “He sustaineth us within Himself in love,” etc.; and lxiii. “In the taking of our nature He quickened us,” etc. ↵
- See preceding note. ↵
- From The Scale [or Ladder] of Perfection, by Walter Hilton (Fourteenth century), edition of 1659, Part III. ch. ii.:— “The soule of a man is a life consisting of three powers, Memory, Understanding, and Will, after the image and likeness of the blessed Trinity…. Whereby you may see, that man’s soule (which may be called a created Trinity) was in its natural state replenished in its three powers, with the remembrance, sight, and love of the most blessed uncreated Trinity, which is God…. But when Adam sinned, choosing love and delight in himselfe, and in the creatures, he lost all his excellency and dignity, and thou also in him.” Ch. III. Sec. i. “And though we should prove not to be able to recover it fully here in this life, yet should we desire and endeavour to recover the image and likeness of the dignity we had, so that our soul might be reformed as it were in a shadow by grace to the image of the Trinity which we had by nature, and hereafter shall have fully in bliss….” Sec. ii. “Seeke then that which thou hast lost, that thou mayest finde it; for well I wote, whosoever once hath an inward sight, but a little of that dignity and that spirituall fairness which a soule hath by creation, and shall have again by grace, he will loath in his heart all the blisse, the liking, and the fairnesse of this world…. Nevertheless as thou hast not as yet seen what it is fully, for thy spiritual eye is not yet opened, I shall tell thee one word for all, in the which thou shalt seeke, desire, and finde it; for in that one word is all that thou hast lost. This word is Jesus…. If thou feelest in thy heart a great desire to Jesus … then seekest thou well thy Lord Jesus. And when thou feelest this desire to God, or to Jesus (for it is all one) holpen and comforted by a ghostly might, insomuch that it is turned into love, affection, and spiritual fervour and sweetnesse, into light and knowing of truth, so that for the time the point of thy thought is set upon no other created thing, nor feeleth any stirring of vain-glory, nor of selfe-love, nor any other evill affection (for they cannot appear at that time) but this thy desire is onely enclosed, rested, softened, suppled, and annoynted in Jesus, then hast thou found somewhat of Jesus; I mean not him as he is, but a shadow of him; for the better that thou findest him, the more shalt thou desire him. Then observe by what manner of Prayer or Meditation or exercise of Devotion thou findest greatest and purest desire stirred up in thee to him, and most feeling of him, by that kind of prayer, exercise, or worke seekest thou him best, and shalt best finde him…. “See then the mercy and courtesie of Jesus. Thou hast lost him, but where? soothly in thy house, that is to say, in thy soul, that if thou hadst lost all thy reason of thy soule, by its first sinne, thou shouldst never have found him again; but he left thee thy reason, and so he is still in thy soule, and never is quite lost out of it. “Nevertheless, thou art never the nearer him, till thou hast found him. He is in thee, though he be lost from thee; but thou art not in him, till thou hast found him. This is his mercy also, that he would suffer himself to be lost onely where he may be found, so that thou needest not run to Rome, nor to Jerusalem to seeke him there, but turne thy thoughts into thy owne soule, where he is hid, as the Prophet saith; Truly thou art the hidden God, hid in thy soule, and seek him there. Thus saith he himselfe in the Gospel; The kingdome of heaven is likened to a treasure hid in the field, the which when a man findeth, for joy thereof, he goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Jesus is a treasure hid in the soule…. “As long as Jesus findeth not his image reformed in thee, he is strange, and the farther from thee: therefore frame and shape thyself to be arrayed in his likenesse, that is in humility and charity, which are his liveries, and then will he know thee, and familiarly come to thee, and acquaint thee with his secrets. Thus saith he to his Disciples; Who so loveth me, he shall be loved of my Father, and I will manifest my selfe unto him. There is not any vertue nor any good work that can make thee like to our Lord, without Humility and Charity, for these two above all other are most acceptable (‘most leyf’) to him, which appeareth plainly in the Gospel, where our Lord speaketh of humility thus; Learn of me, for I am meeke and humble in heart. He saith not, learn of me to go barefoot, or to go into the desart, and there to fast forty dayes, nor yet to choose to your selves Disciples (as I did) but learne of me meeknesse, for I am meek and lowly in heart. Also of charity he saith thus; This is my Commandment, that ye love one another as I loved you, for by that shall men know you for my Disciples. Not that you worke miracles, or cast out Devills, or preach, or teach, but that each one of you love one another in charity. If therefore thou wilt be like him, have humility and charity. Now thou knowest what charity is, viz. To love thy neighbour as thy selfe.” Chap. IV. Sec. 1…. “Now I shall tell thee (according to my feeble ability) how thou mayest enter into thy selfe to see the ground of sin, and destroy it as much as thou canst, and so recover a part of thy souls dignity…. Draw in thy thoughts … and set thy intent and full purpose, as if thou wouldst not seek nor find any thing but onely the grace and spiritual presence of Jesus.” “This will be painful; for vaine thoughts will presse into thy heart very thick, to draw thy minde down to them. And in doing thus, thou shalt find somewhat, but not Jesus whom thou seekest, but onely a naked remembrance of his name. But what then shalt thou finde? Surely this; A darke and ill-favoured image of thy owne soule, which hath neither light of knowledge nor feeling of love of God…. This is not the image of Jesus, but the image of sin, which St Paul calleth a body of sinne and of death…. Peradventure now thou beginnest to thinke with thy selfe what this image is like, and that thou shouldst not study much upon it, I will tell thee. It is like no bodily thing; What is it then saist thou? Verily it is nought, or no reall thing, as thou shalt finde, if thou try by doing as I have spoken; that is, draw in thy thoughts into thy selfe from all bodily things, and then shalt thou find right nought wherein thy soule may rest. “This nothing is nought else but darknesse of conscience, and a lacking of the love of God and of light; as sin is nought but a want of good, if it were so that the ground of sin was much abated and dryed up in thee, and thy soule was reformed right as the image of Jesus; then if thou didst draw into thy selfe thy heart, thou shouldst not find this Nought, but thou shouldst find Jesus; not only the naked remembrance of this name, but Jesus Christ in thy soule readily teaching thee, thou shouldst there find light of understanding, and no darknesse of ignorance, a love and liking of him; and no pain of bitternesse, heavinesse, or tediousenesse of him…. “And here also thou must beware that thou take Jesus Christ into thy thoughts against this darknesse in thy mind, by busie prayer and fervent desire to God, not setting the point of thy thoughts on that foresaid Nought, but on Jesus Christ whom thou desirest. Think stifly on his passion, and on his Humility, and through his might thou shalt arise. Do as if thou wouldst beate downe this darke image, and go through-stitch with it. Thou shalt hate (‘agryse’) and loath this darknesse and this Nought, just as the Devill, and thou shalt despise and all to break it (‘brest it’). “For within this Nought is Jesus hid in his joy, whom thou shalt not finde with all thy seeking, unlesse thou passe this darknesse of conscience. “This is the ghostly travel I spake of, and the cause of all this writing is to stir thee thereto, if thou have grace. This darknesse of conscience, and this Nought is the image of the first Adam: St Paul knew it well, for he said thus of it; As we have before borne the image of the earthly man, that is the first Adam, right so that we might now beare the image of the heavenly man, which is Jesus, the second Adam. St Paul bare this image oft full heavily, for it was so cumbersome to him, that he cryed out of it, saying thus; O who shall deliver me from this body and this image of death. And then he comforted himselfe and others also thus: The grace of God through Jesus Christ.” ↵
- MS. “adyte to” = ordained to, made ready for. ↵
- MS. “Witt.” ↵
- “in our substantiall makyng.” ↵
- “buxum.” ↵
- S. de Cressy gives the “in” twice missed in the Brit. Mus. MS. ↵
- it is I. ↵
- MS. “of.” ↵
- MS. “of.” ↵
- MS. “of.” ↵
- Or “appropriated to”; MS. “impropried” = made to be the property of; assigned and consigned to. ↵
- Our Mother by Nature, our Mother In Grace. ↵
- These clauses, probably omitted by mistake, are in S. de Cressy’s version. ↵
- S. de Cressy has “sustained.” See lvii. p. 139. ↵
- “I it am.” ↵
- “so kynd of the self.” ↵
- “kynde.” ↵
- “kind.” ↵
- “bristinid.” ↵
- “clepyng.” ↵
- From the Ancren Riwle (Camden Society’s version, edited by J. Morton, D.D.), p. 231: “The sixth comfort is, that our Lord, when He suffereth us to be tempted, playeth with us, as the mother with her young darling: she flies from him, and hides herself, and lets him sit alone, and look anxiously around, and call Dame! Dame! and weep awhile; and then she leapeth forth laughing, with outspread arms, and embraceth and kisseth him, and wipeth his eyes. In like manner, our Lord sometimes leaveth us alone, and withdraweth His grace, His comfort, and His support, so that we feel no delight in any good that we do, nor any satisfaction of heart; and yet, at that very time, our dear Father loveth us never the less, but doth it for the great love that He hath to us.” p. 135: “The fourth reason why our Lord hideth Himself is, that thou mayest seek him more earnestly, and call, and weep after Him, as the little baby doth after his mother” (“ase deth thet lutel baban”—in another manuscript ‘lite barn’—”efter his moder”). ↵
- i.e. could. ↵
- “entend about.” ↵
- S. de Cressy has here “to do it.” This MS. seems to have: “to don us,” possibly for to work at us, carry out our salvation to perfection, or, to take in hand for us, “to do for us.” See The Paston Letters, vol. ii. (Letter 472), May 1463, “he prayid hym that he wold don for hym in hys mater, and gaf hym a reward; and withinne ryth short tym after, his mater sped.” ↵
- “our brekyngs and our nowtyngs.” ↵
- “kynde.” ↵
- “kindhede.” ↵
- “kyndes.” ↵
- i.e. made ready, prepared, appointed. ↵
- “no lak (blame), no defaute.” ↵
- “as sothly as sin is onclene as sothly is it onkinde.” ↵
- S. de Cressy has “the loving soul.” ↵
- “Our fader bliss.” ↵